Chinese Military Spending Up Sharply
BEIJING — China announced a further sharp increase in military spending on Tuesday, a day after the United States renewed its warning that a lack of openness surrounding the rapid buildup of the Chinese armed forces posed a threat to stability in Asia.
China’s military budget for 2008 will increase by 17.6 percent to 417.77 billion yuan, or about $58.8 billion, Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, told a news conference.
This follows a 17.8 percent increase in 2007.
Before the annual legislative session, which begins Wednesday, Mr. Jiang also said the situation in the Taiwan Strait was “grim and complex” and called on the Taiwanese president, Chen Shui-bian, to halt what Beijing described as unacceptable moves toward independence. China considers the island of Taiwan a breakaway province.
China has increased annual defense outlays by double-digit percentages most years in the past two decades to pay for an array of modern weapons and better training and conditions for its 2.3 million-person military, the world’s biggest standing force.
Foreign security experts in the United States and elsewhere say Beijing’s real military spending is two or three times the announced figure. They say these sustained increases have put China on track to become a major military power and the country most capable of challenging American dominance in East Asia.
A major military power. Wal-Mart’s biggest producer is on track to become a major military power in Asia. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is on track to become the single largest destroyer of mom and pop businesses right here in America.
Asia or Arkansas–the threat is real.
Are the two connected? Is there a synergy afoot we ought to be worried about? There are so many worries these days, pray god a military-industrial complexity between China and Wal-Mart is not among them.
Consider the strategic opportunities. The world’s largest standing army combined witht the world’s most underpaid workforce. The scenario would unfold something like this;
- China buys 51% of Wal-Mart, making the Walton family four times as rich as they are now.
- The outsourcing of jobs takes a bizarre twist, as China replaces Wal-Mart’s 1.1 million Associates with English speaking native Chinese, producing
- The world’s largest standing army, strategically located within 3,800 bases near small town America.
Think of that. Four times America’s military personnel (including Blackwater), smoothly integrated into our unsuspecting society.
Other opinions (although not nearly so well thought out and presented as mine) put forth the case that China is merely alarmed at American aggression throughout the world, including our joyously and publicly shooting down a satellite just months after criticizing China for the exact same behavior.
They are worried, opine other opinions, that radar on Polish and Czech soil, recent bloviating on the control of space and American arms expenditures twice that of the entire rest of the world, are not so innocent as Condi Rice claims. Backed by a diplomacy more akin to Dr. Strangelove than George Marshall, China is nervous.
During the bad old days of the Cold War, going nuclear meant mutual destruction.
For China, the nuclear option might just include a hostile takeover–not in the Taiwan Straits, but in Bentonville, Arkansas.